September 11, 2015 | Posted in 1st Doggies
Buddy – President Bill Clinton’s chocolate lab, had a short life but from photos, videos and news reports, it seems obvious he was very much loved, especially by the former President.
Clinton was the third youngest man ever elected President, at 46 years old. He was the first president to come out of the baby boomer era and took office in 1993.
When Bill Clinton, wife Hillary and daughter Chelsea moved into the White House from their home in Arkansas (where he’d been Governor), they brought their black-and-white cat Socks with them.
During Clinton’s second term in office, word of the Monica Lewinsky sex scandal began surfacing. Just prior to the major news coverage of it, a friend gave him a chocolate lab pup because Clinton had mentioned he needed “one loyal friend in Washington.” That would be Buddy.
Over 500 suggested names for the 3-month-old pup came through the White House mail from the public, but Clinton decided upon the name Buddy, naming him after his late great-uncle Henry Oren “Buddy” Grisham, who’d passed away the year before and had been a major influence in Clinton’s life.
Socks the cat and Buddy the dog didn’t get along well at all, so they were kept in separate quarters in the White House. Buddy was a very frequently-photographed First Dog and it was clear that he was partial to Bill Clinton. When the President crossed the White House lawn upon returning home by helicopter following a trip, Buddy was there to greet him, often with a yellow tennis ball in his mouth, attempting to start a game. Clinton’s look of affection towards Buddy indicates the love was mutual.
In 1998. the First Lady wrote a children’s book titled “Dear Socks; Dear Buddy”, compiling more than 50 letters from children to the First Pets, along with 80 photos of Socks and Buddy.
During the Lewinsky scandal, as relations became tense between President and Mrs. Clinton and apparently briefly between Chelsea and her father, the President could be seen sitting alone in the White House, playing solitaire or working at his desk, Buddy reclining at his feet.
Clinton was quoted during a television interview saying that there were times when he felt Buddy was his only friend – the only one who liked him.
When the Clintons left the White House in 2001, they made plans to move into a home in Chappaqua, New York. The space wasn’t big enough to hold the still-feuding Socks and Buddy and it was decided that Socks would live with Clinton’s secretary Betty Curie, since she’d spent so much time with the cat in the White House.
Buddy, however, moved to Chappaqua. In the early weeks following the move, reporters camped outside the home hoping for a glimpse of Bill and Hillary. They referred to Buddy as their “signal dog” because often, when he was seen emerging from the home, Clinton was usually not far behind.
One time, Buddy came out quite awhile before Bill Clinton and had time to greet a reporter, sniff out a box of doughnuts nearby and quickly eat three of them before anyone could stop him.
Clinton took frequent trips into town with Buddy by his side, but if the rambunctious dog got too excited about sights or sounds, neighbors would hear Clinton say, “Hush, Buddy, hush.”
He became a fixture in the neighborhood and often the talk would not be “Did you see Bill or Hillary Clinton today?” but instead, “Did you see Buddy today?”
The Clintons were away one day while contractors were working on their home. Buddy got out of the house and was, according to a police report, “playfully chasing a contractor across the street” when he was struck by a car driven by a high school student.
Secret Service agents rushed him to a nearby animal hospital, but it was too late and Buddy was pronounced dead, ending a short but much-beloved life as “best friend” to Bill Clinton.